Origins: Kororeka 1833

A Tale told by a working man...


"Remember, this was Kororareka in the 1830s. A godforsaken, lawless land back then. Wasn’t called the 'Hellhole of the Pacific' for nothin’.

Everyone knew Jack. He had the respect of both the Ngapuhi tribe and the seafarers from abroad. I was just a young fellah at the time, working the docks, trying to hold my own. Jack had his own ship, running cargo back and forth across the Tasman. Rum, gunpowder, livestock, whatever the demand was.

He had his business, and he had a woman he loved. Miriama, The daughter of the Ngapuhi chief, was she a beauty.

I think he was happy, or as close as a man can come to it.

I guess fate had other plans for Jack.  A winter load coming in from southern Europe changed everything. Muskets, gunpowder, the whole nine.

He’d been told the the product was to be sent down south, to the whaling boys who’d seen trouble from pirates. What they really wanted was control of all trade in the area, they were planning an attack on the Northern tribe.

Ya see nothing got past Jack. He was tough, he was smart and he saw everything. Above all he was loyal, he’d be damned if he let anyone harm those close to him, or the woman he called his own.

After learning he’d been double crossed, he had a choice to make. Tell the Ngapuhi tribe and risk all out war, or destroy the cargo himself, leaving a price on his head.

I guess Jack did what he thought he had to. That night I remember waking up to an almighty bang. I looked out and saw Jack’s ship ablaze in the harbour. Hell of a thing to see, i’ll tell ya. Woke the whole town up, no easy feat in Kororareka.

No one saw Jack again after that night. Some say he went down with the flames, some say the seafarers got him. Some even say he made it to the islands in a rowboat.

If you ask me….. I don’t think that night was the end of Jack Dusty."


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